Despite the criticism it has received from the right, experts agree that the Affordable Care Act has been a resounding success overall. Millions more Americans now have coverage that was previously only available to those who could afford it, with women and minorities seeing the greatest benefits. But with a large number of Americans still lacking adequate care, many believe that the ACA simply doesn’t go far enough.
Progressives have long been educating Americans about the wonders of single payer healthcare systems, citing success stories such as Canada, the U.K. and France. Not only do these countries have better quality care, but they also spend far less per capita on healthcare than we do. Government experts frequently appear on the media to talk about the many benefits of state run healthcare. The most obvious benefit is that there are no insurance companies to overcharge customers, deny coverage and heartlessly discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions. In a single payer system, everybody gets full coverage, regardless of whether they can pay, and service is given on the basis of need, not wants. When the waiting lines become too long to service everybody in good time, those who have the most urgent needs are served first, rather than those with the most money. In a free market healthcare system, the rich get whatever healthcare they desire, while more needy people are denied healthcare simply because they cannot afford it.
Women, minorities, the elderly, and people who suffer from weight-issues, are the most enthusiastic about a single payer system. The least enthusiastic are white males who complain about the increased taxes they have to pay, and the disproportionately small benefits they receive. But isn’t this what a healthcare system is about? Taking care of the sick and needy, rather than the privileged and able? Those who complain about the increased taxes and need-based rationing of a single payer system need to check their privilege, and think about the broader benefits to society that universal healthcare will bring. Healthcare is there to help those in need – it is a necessity, not a luxury; and for companies to profit from the illnesses of others, while denying those without money the right to basic medical care, is morally reprehensible, and most importantly, un-American.